Blueberry-Banana Bread–Kona Inn Banana Bread Redux: Lighter and Healthier

Blueberry-Banana Bread–Kona Inn Banana Bread Redux: Lighter and Healthier

Sunday, February 23, 2020 is NATIONAL BANANA BREAD DAY. I had no clue, but you know there’s a day for everything. I’d love you to make my loaf to celebrate the — uh-hem — holiday, but I’ll be totally happy if you make it tomorrow or even the next day, too. The original version of the famous Kona Inn Banana Bread has been a star in my baking repertoire for at least 35 years. Sure there’ve been other banana breads I’ve cheated with and lots of other sweet quick breads….but this is the one that has passed the test of time and feels like the world standard–at least at my house. The recipe for my bread came from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK by Marion Cunningham, one of my go-to basic baking books in 1985, 2020, and all the years in between. (The book’s out of print, but there are used copies available. Don’t hesitate if you like to bake.) These days, you can also find the recipe in several places and versions around the web, even on Epicurious or Food Network!

Continue reading “Blueberry-Banana Bread–Kona Inn Banana Bread Redux: Lighter and Healthier”
Sirloin Steak Tacos w/ Red Pepper Sauce and Blue Cheese + Root Vegetable Salad with Oregon Chardonnay Vinaigrette: Valentine’s Day at Home

Sirloin Steak Tacos w/ Red Pepper Sauce and Blue Cheese + Root Vegetable Salad with Oregon Chardonnay Vinaigrette: Valentine’s Day at Home

Fusion tacos with a French sauce that’s not hot as it’s made with sweet-natured roasted red peppers. Want heat? Sure, go right ahead!
Continue reading “Sirloin Steak Tacos w/ Red Pepper Sauce and Blue Cheese + Root Vegetable Salad with Oregon Chardonnay Vinaigrette: Valentine’s Day at Home”
Chicken Meatloaf Marinara

Chicken Meatloaf Marinara

Stuffed with creamy mozzarella, this meatloaf is a little like pizza in a loaf pan!

If you’re a Meatloaf fan, I’m thinking you’d do anything for love, but… I’m more likely to do anything for meatloaf. Fond memories of my own mom’s meatloaf or even of my own sometimes nudge (read that, shove) me into grabbing the loaf pan soooo fast, simmering and mashing up some root vegetables, and then waltzing around waiting for the, “it’s meatloaf night” aroma sailing all over the house. I know sometimes meatloaf gets a bad rap and…I don’t know why. Does it seem cheap? Old fashioned? Silly? Oh-too-simple? Housewifey? Slow? Fattening? Full of dry oatmeal? I have none of those problems; I’ll eat it every which way. My beef meatloaf is one of those dinners I unapologetically still use a couple of packaged, processed ingredients in and couldn’t care less. (Dried onion soup mix and tomato sauce, in case you’re wondering.) Sometimes I make two to make sure we have plenty for leftovers as there is absolutely nothing like a meatloaf sandwich — something I never had until I was once visiting my old college friend Danny Izzo at lunchtime when he casually asked, “Would you like a meatloaf sandwich?” He had no clue what he was starting, but I’ve never since stopped making them. And I am not a sandwich person. (Don’t forget the mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Maybe a thin slice of red onion. Ok, bacon.) Thanks, Danny.

Continue reading “Chicken Meatloaf Marinara”
Tequila White Chicken Chili

Tequila White Chicken Chili

LIke spicy? Add an extra jalapeño to the pot.

Next to my reading chair I typically keep a big, messy stack of books and magazines; sometimes the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES rests there until the next Sunday rolls around. In the pile are that month’s book club books (I try and keep up with three book clubs plus a cookbook club, though I often don’t succeed) along with another new one or two someone’s told me about or loaned me. If I’m really lucky, and I often am, I also keep a precious something I can read piecemeal, a tiny bit at a time when I need to get off my feet or have an extra 10 minutes before needing to stir a pot or leave for an appointment.

Continue reading “Tequila White Chicken Chili”
Fast Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Fast Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Serve with hot green tea.

Over the past five years, “bowls” have become a happily standard feature on American restaurant menus. Most feature some sort of grain (rice, quinoa, grits, barley), a well-seasoned protein, mixes of fresh and cooked vegetables, perky and tasty garnishes, and, of course, a stand out, distinctive sauce. While nearly anything goes into a bowl these days — including traditional Mediterranean or Mexican ingredients — I often find myself leaning toward the Asian-inspired varieties and am happiest if the cooks are fairly heavy-handed with the soy sauce, please.

Continue reading “Fast Teriyaki Salmon Bowl”
Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!

Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!

While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???

Continue reading “Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!”
INSTANT POT: Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham

INSTANT POT: Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham

Black-Eyed Peas… Good Luck to you in 2020!

While Christmas seems so very far away now, it’s definitely not if you’re a traditional observer. Today is the 6th day of Christmas — as in 6 Geese A-Laying, right?

The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day). The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.

vox.com

Continue reading “INSTANT POT: Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham”
Cranberry-Apple-Pear Coffeecake

Cranberry-Apple-Pear Coffeecake

CHRISTMAS IN A COFFEECAKE

Crud. I’ve had the crud. Dave, too. Days and days of nasty, head cold life–luckily not much else like sore throats or tummy troubles. Unable to navigate further than the kitchen, we summoned up pots of my easiest chicken soups, ordered pizza when the soup was gone, and watched as many Christmas movies as two people could handle in what ended up to be more than a week. In between, there was a snow storm that left us with several inches in the drive and on the walkways but with luckily no power outages. That meant a few gorgeous fires in the fireplace to cheer us up.

Continue reading “Cranberry-Apple-Pear Coffeecake”
Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread

This spicy bread is full of not only chocolate chips, but also walnuts, plump cranberries and raisins for the holiday win!

I’ll begin by saying I’ve made a little more of this bread over the last week than I ever intended. Look at that face. Just look at that face. Isn’t that sweetness canine-i-fied? Lord, I love this dog.

Continue reading “Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread”
almost (better than) scratch beef-barley soup

almost (better than) scratch beef-barley soup

“In the Deep Mid-Winter,” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The verses…

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty —
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom Angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and Archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only His Mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshiped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, —
Give my heart.

Continue reading “almost (better than) scratch beef-barley soup”